Tom Carper, U.S. Senator for Delaware

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Environment & Public Works’ Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure, participated in the committee’s hearing on “MAP-21 Reauthorization: State and Local Perspectives on Transportation Priorities and Funding.”

A copy of Sen. Carper's opening statement, as prepared for delivery, follows:

“Thank you, Madam Chairman and Ranking Member Vitter, for holding this hearing today. Just a little more than two years ago, we were gathered on the Senate Floor, debating, amending, and eventually passing MAP-21, our last transportation bill.

“I was proud to be a part of crafting that bill, and I am hoping that we’ll be reauthorizing that bill very soon, though this time for a full five or six years. I think there is broad agreement among my colleagues that we need a long-term bill, and as I’ve told Chairman Boxer, I will do all that I can to support that goal.

“I’d like to thank the state and local officials on the panel for joining us today. In particular, I’d like to thank Dave Gula with the Wilmington Area Planning Council, which helps local governments in Northern and Central Delaware, as well as Cecil County, Maryland, to plan and prioritize a well-functioning transportation system.

“After reviewing the testimony from the panel, I am heartened by the story you all are going to tell us today. Because what I see across the country is that state and local governments are stepping up to the plate on transportation. You all are finding ways to raise the revenue you need to pay for transportation investments.

“Most of the witnesses on the panel have either raised revenue at the local level or are from states that have raised revenue, because you recognize that these investments pay dividends. Second, in both urban and rural areas, the local government is often where we find officials making some of the most innovative investments in transportation infrastructure. Because when a local official asks the voters for more money, he or she is going to be focused like a laser on delivering results and getting positive outcomes for these investments.

“What that means is that you aren’t really just investing in a list of projects. What you are investing in is a shorter commute, less congestion, less pollution, and local business growth. You are investing in an improved quality of life for your constituents.

“Given all this, we need to make sure that local priorities in both cities and rural areas are taken into consideration when states make decisions about transportation projects. Counties, cities, and MPOs need to be at the table with states when we’re making decisions about projects to help ease congestion, to move freight, or to improve quality of life.

“And we need to do our part in Congress by passing a long-term bill that continues to deliver on MAP-21’s promise of high performance transportation programs. Thank you.”